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NOLA Nerdlesque: Nerds, Unite!

NOLA Nerdlesque festival returns November 11-13 for its second year to celebrate and satirize nerdy pop culture.

Burlesque performer Persé Fanny as the video game character Luigi (photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque Festival)
Burlesque performer Persé Fanny as the video game character Luigi. (Photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque Festival)

Back in 2013, a chance viewing of a Super Mario-themed burlesque show opened my eyes to the wonderfully wacky world of nerdlesque, a sub-genre of burlesque performance that celebrates and satirizes nerdy pop culture. I love a good Harry Potter or superhero satire, which is why NOLA Nerdlesque is quickly becoming one of my favorite local festivals– and I’m pretty sure you will love it, too.

International burlesque performer Stella Chuu as Super Girl. (Photo by Otaku No Baires)

Nerdlesque is a performance art notable for its inclusivity of all body types. It empowers performers and audience members to not just “let it all hang out,” but to feel daring and confident while doing it.

NOLA Nerdlesque, now in its second year, “started out of a love for nerdy pop culture and burlesque,” says co-founder Persé Fanny, when she and other local nerdlesque performers “decided to combine our dorky efforts and celebrate nerds together.”

Now sexier (and nerdier) than before, NOLA Nerdlesque’s 2016 fest runs from November 11-13 at the newly opened Valiant Theatre and Lounge (6621 St Claude Ave) in Arabi. Internationally acclaimed burlesque and cosplay star Stella Chuu, known as “The Anime Princess of Burlesque,” headlines the festival, and dozens of other local and national nerdlesque performers will also take the stage.

Three shows and three workshops form the meat of the festival, with a soon-to-be-announced opening party and after parties on Friday and Saturday nights in the works. Get the dirty on this year’s shows below, and be sure to buy your tickets in advance (note shows are 18+).

Burlesque performer Remy Dee, an avid nerd, is one of the local performers behind NOLA Nerdlesque Fest. (Photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque Festival)

Heroic Monstrosi-Tease

Friday, Nov. 11 at 9:00 p.m.
General Admission, $15, VIP, $25

The Heroic Monstrosi-Tease show features the most beloved heroes and despised villains from nerdy pop culture favorites ranging from Star Wars, to Harry Potter, to Super Mario. Special guests include Lefty Lucy, executive producer of the Original Nerdlesque Festival, NYC, and Chuu.

Saturday Morning Cartoon Show

Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:00 p.m.
General Admission, $15, VIP, $25

It should be noted that Saturday Morning Cartoon Show will be anything but child-friendly. The show will satirize the early morning cartoons of our childhoods, including Pokémon, Pee Wee Herman, and Peter Pan. Circus and burlesque performer Chatty the Mime, Chuu, and other local and national burlesque artists will take their talents to the stage.

Burlesque performer May Hemmer as the comic book character Deadpool. (Photo by Ricky Sherman)

Super Smash Burlesque: Free for All

Sunday, Nov. 13 at 6:00 p.m.
General Admission, $15, VIP, $25

Super Smash Burlesque: Free for All closes out the festival weekend with satire of video game, science fiction, and comic book characters. It will feature everything from mini-bosses, to audience interaction, to surprise guests. Nicole Lynn Fox hosts, and “Oklahoma City’s Burlesque Queen” and international burlesque star Adéle Wolf headlines the evening.

So go ahead, laugh a little; let your freak flag fly. You’ll be in good company. Costumes encouraged.

Emily Ramírez Hernández is the child of New Orleans natives whose families have been in the city for generations. Emily's earliest memories of New Orleans include joyful car rides over bumpy streets, eating dripping roast beef po-boys at Domilise's, and catching bouncy balls during Mardi Gras parades with cousins. An urban planner by day and freelance writer by night, when she is off the clock she enjoys biking around town, belly dancing, and catching nerdlesque shows.

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